WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: Disturbing footage has emerged from South Australia of an off-duty police officer stoning a wombat to the brink of death while he is egged on by a friend.
The confronting clip shows the topless man launching rocks at the wombat along an Eyre Peninsula dirt track at night, only visible thanks to the lights of a 4WD in close pursuit behind.
The man picks up a rock before hurling it at the body of the wombat, which scampers off after the impact.
“Get him! Oh you got him!” the man behind the camera shouts as he laughs throughout.
The man chases after the wombat with another stone but misses on his second attempt.
The wombat continues to flee but is struck a further two times, both to the head. On the second blow, it keels over and rolls on its back.
“You killed him bruv!” the person filming declares as the man raises his hands in celebration.
“First bloke to ever kill a wombat on foot, bro,” he added.
The footage was shared by the Wombat Awareness Organisation to Facebook, who condemned the behaviour.
“Heartbroken... this is not entertainment. This has to stop!” they wrote.
Yahoo News Australia has chosen to remove parts of the video due to the distressing nature of the footage.
A South Australia Police spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the matter is under investigation.
“South Australia Police are aware of a social media video depicting an incident involving a man inflicting injuries upon a wombat,” the spokesperson said.
“At this time SAPOL can confirm they are taking the situation very seriously and are closely examining the video.
“An inquiry is being undertaken into this matter to first formally identify the man; and then take appropriate action as required.”
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said in a statement “the actions portrayed in the footage to be totally abhorrent and unacceptable”.
He also confirmed the man in the video is a member of SA Police.
"I am aware of the community outrage regarding this matter,” Comm Stevens said.
"I want to reassure everybody that the actions in the video do not align with the values and behaviours I expect from my employees, nor does it align with community standards. Numerous employees of South Australia Police have also expressed to me that they, too, find the footage detestable and not consistent with their values."
Comm Stevens told the ABC the man will face the appropriate internal disciplinary action and possible legal action.
RSPCA told Yahoo News Australia while they are aware of the footage, they will not be commenting further on the incident while SA Police investigate the matter.
Wombats are a protected species across all states apart from some areas of Victoria.
However, licences can be granted for the humane killing of wombats using firearms.
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